News: JTF Carson runs to remember fallen
Story by Staff Sgt. Wallace Bonner
FORT CARSON, Colo. - More than 300 soldiers, family members and friends of Fort Carson gathered at Iron Horse Park Saturday to run, walk and roll in support of soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
The group honored fallen post service members during the annual Fort Carson Soldiers’ Memorial walk/run.
“We are here to honor the soldiers of Fort Carson who have fallen,” said Gigi Holman, event planner and administrative assistant, Events and Entertainment Division, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Bibs featured the names of every fallen Fort Carson soldier, and blank ones were available for participants to write the names of those they wanted to honor specifically, she said.
The event began with an invocation, followed by Angela Williams, a former specialist with the 4th Infantry Division Band, singing the national anthem. She had her own motivation to perform.
“It’s for the fallen soldiers,” she said. “My husband had Staff Sgt. Brown, who he was close to. We still have candles at home to honor him.”
Staff Sgt. Christopher Brown, squad leader, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th ID, died April 3, 2012, in Khas Kunar District, Kunar province, Afghanistan, during a patrol in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Many people had specific people they were running to honor.
“We are running in honor of Sgt. 1st Class Matt Harvey, who was killed Feb. 5 (2012), after serving 15 years,” said Maj. Reyn Mann, executive officer, Group Support Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). “We want to continue to show his family how much he meant to us. He was a pretty amazing person.
“He was a ‘lead vehicle en route clearance’ type of guy,” she said. Harvey, who was killed in a car wreck, had two Purple Hearts from deployments to Iraq.
Staff Sgt. Thomas Merchant, training room noncommissioned officer in charge, 59th Quartermaster Company, also had special people in mind.
“Some of the soldiers in the 32nd Transportation Company used to be in the motor pool with us - Spc. (William) Moody, Spc. (Ember) Alt,” he said.
Moody and Alt died June 18, from indirect fire in Bagram, Afghanistan, while conducting operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The 32nd Transportation Company falls under 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade.
The event also brought veterans from other areas of Colorado. Crystal Black, recreational therapist and adaptive sports coordinator, Veterans Affairs, Eastern Colorado, said there were eight people from her program and two veteran volunteers. Many of them were in wheelchairs; others used crutches or had leg braces.
“We came out last year. A lot of our veterans want to support the fallen soldiers,” said Black. “We also work on their physical rehabilitation, and this is a good opportunity as well.”
After the participants completed the course, they were treated to watermelon, cantaloupe and water, and Army Community Service set up a table with pamphlets to inform community members of available services.
Although the event had nearly 500 fewer participants than last year, Holman was still happy with the turnout.
“I love this event. I think it’s great that we can do this,” said Holman. “I feel really honored that I get to be a part of this event - that I get to serve families and soldiers in this way.”